Yes, I know, quite a claim… But turns out the Times journalist and funny gal Caitlin Moran is making a huge impact on the lives of women up and down the country.
Last night, I went to see Caitlin talk about her latest book How To Be A Woman at Waterstones, Deansgate. I expected the evening to be entertaining, funny and inspiring – and all these boxes were ticked. What I didn’t expect was for the evening to be quite so humbling…
For those of you who don’t know, in her new book, Caitlin draws on her own experiences to highlight some of the issues that women face today. From intimate waxing to taking out a second mortgage to buy a designer handbag, from lap dancing clubs to the rise of the WAG, and from the reality of giving birth to the reality of abortions – Caitlin explores these subjects and encourages fellow females (and males) to look at them, question them and basically ask: WTF??
It appears the UK has been gagging for a book like this to come along. Many of Moran’s own stories and views echo the millions of murmurs, whispers and gossips of women all over the world. How to be a Woman is currently number five in Amazon’s bestselling list, and Moran told us last night that there is going to be a film, sitcom and second book to follow. Wowza, looks like the latest trend is a big fat dollop of feminism. Who’d a funked it?
Clearly, I wasn’t the only person at the event last night who found Moran’s book refreshing and entertaining. There was a real buzz and energy in the room, and much ROFL-ing ensued. However, it was the comments from a lady sat in the row in front of me that really put this book into perspective.
The lady was from the Pankhurst Centre, a women’s community centre based in Chorlton on Medlock, Manchester. She stood up and told Caitlin how much of a powerful tool her book was, not just for the staff who work there, but also for the women that they help.
Some of the women that the centre supports may be victims of sexual assault or domestic violence. Some of them may be homeless or addicted to drugs. Some of them may be facing debt, unemployment or family issues. Some may never have a strong female role model or the ability to stand up for themselves.
Regularly during workshops, someone from the Pankhurst Centre reads an extract from How to be a Woman to the rest of the team and visitors to the centre. The book provides a lot of discussion among the women about how certain issues relate to them and their experiences. With the help of Caitlin’s words, curses and humour, they are empowering the women that they support gain confidence, restore their self-respect and rebuild their lives.
Last night, the comments from the Pankhurst Centre worker sliced through me and I’m still thinking about them today. For me, Caitlin’s book was enjoyable and empowering, making me think things like: ‘YEH, why the hell should we spend twenty odd grand on a wedding and make ourselves look like porn stars??’, but thanks to the comments from some of the guests last night, it made me realise that, actually, this book is pretty much a life saver for some women out there.